Man Attempts to Match Revolutionary War Pay Documents to Descendants

Doug Miller, resident of Santa Clarita, CA, has found a new calling. An avid genealogist with records on his own family back to the 16th century, Miller has long understood the enchantment of the ancestral call, and now he hopes to share the obsession in a very unique way.

For more than thirty years, Miller has invested in land grants, steel engravings, conveyance receipts, Revolutionary War pay documents and other pieces of ephemera. These items would be interesting to any collector, but the genealogist in Miller told him that they would especially be precious to family historians. He explains, “Although I always understood that these pieces were valuable, I never really knew what to do with them until I met Joy.”

Joy is Joy Shivar, owner of the Family Heirloom Exchange, an indexed website designed to match original antiques and artifacts back to families.“It always seems that the person in charge of distributing an estate is the wrong one and important family items end up in the hands of antique dealers or collectors. is designed to alleviate this situation. We call it ‘Antique Hunting in the Family Tree’ for ‘Orphaned Heirlooms’”, she explains.

Besides documents, other items found on the website include pictures, newspapers, advertising pieces, family Bibles, furniture, trophies and other engraved items, yearbooks and much more. is currently advertising original items associated with nearly 40,000 families and, according to Shivar, new surname-related items are added nearly everyday by the antique dealers and others who own them.

A $20.00 annual membership fee entitles users to full access to all information on each item including the name of the current owner, contact information and the asking price. Buyers and sellers work directly and the site does not charge commissions, buyer’s premiums or final value fees.
An important feature of the site is the “surname notification” service. Members are automatically notified as new items are added that match any of the names on their personal surname list (up to twenty can be entered). Although sold items remain on the site as a resource, the surname notification is important to interested buyers because there is usually only one of each item available.

Miller met Shivar at a recent conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies held in Springfield, IL and as she explained the service provided by, he instantly thought of his archive and how valuable his pieces could be to the right descendant.
Miller can picture the joy that an e-mail, associated with one of his items, could bring. “It’s a win-win-win for everyone,” he said, “I’m excited to be a part of it.”

For more information on the Family Heirloom Exchange visit or contact Joy Shivar at 704-948-1912 or